Preventing Electrical Fires in the Summer

When you envision residential electrical fires, you may think they’re most likely to occur in the winter when people use space heaters, when Christmas trees are up, and when electric blankets are being used. But in reality, they can occur at any time of year, including the summer.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “Electrical failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of U.S. home fires in 2012-2016 (behind fires caused by unattended equipment), accounting for 13% of home structure fires.”

The NFPA reports that:

  • The highest share of civilian deaths arose from fires involving electrical failures or malfunctions, accounting for 18% of fatalities.
  • Two out of five electrical fires (39%) occurred between November and February.
  • In roughly three out of five electrical home fires, “arcing” was the heat source.
  • The third leading type of equipment involved in residential fires was electrical distribution and lighting equipment (10% of home fires), behind cooking and heating equipment.

Staying Safe During the Summer

As temperatures rise in the Greater Atlanta Area, so do the number of appliances being used to bring people relief from the summer heat. But when plugging in air conditioners and fans, people need to remember that they’re electric appliances that can pose electrical safety and fire hazards.

As mentioned earlier, arc faults are the leading cause of residential electrical fires. An arc fault occurs when faulty or disrupted wiring creates a spark of electricity. An arc fault is more likely to occur in a home with older wiring or insulation or when a wire is accidentally pierced when a picture is being hung. One of the best ways to prevent an electrical fire caused by an arc fault is to install arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) throughout your home.

Aside from arc faults, other common causes of home electrical fires include faulty outlets, damaged or frayed power cords, over-crowded plugs, outdated appliances, running cords under rugs, bulbs with wattage that are too high for lamps, and outdated wiring.

To perform a home electrical safety audit, contact Lightning Bug Electric today!